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Going from ad man to app man

Thinking about making the digital transformation from copywriter to UX writer? You may be asking yourself, “What skills are businesses looking for?” “Who are recruiters begging to recommend?” “More important, what's a UX writer?”

For over 25 years, I've worked as an advertising copywriter. I started as the "traditional mad man," writing TV, radio and print for banks, car brands and more. Then I made the move to digital when many creatives felt it was just for nerds.

So when people ask, how did I get into UX writing? The answer is I've always kept my eyes open to where the industry was moving. Nothing too profound.

Most UX writers have varying backgrounds in writing. If you're a copywriter or some kind of digital wordsmith, it sounds like a natural fit, right? Eh, maybe. A UX writer is not a blogger or banner writer. UX writing goes much deeper. For example, one needs to understand technology, design and even behavior psychology.

UX writers create the copy and content of a digital experience, everything from content strategy to the call-to-action button.

The voice, style and tone is normally dictated by extensive user research and usability testing, not your creative prose. Still, UX content is the voice of a product, such as an app, and how that product communicates with the user. Again, testing is important to determine what users understand and want. To deliver, UX writers work with teams of UX architects, designers, developers and marketers.

You’ll see some job descriptions that make UX writers and content writers interchangeable. Not true. Content writers, like copywriters, promote products. More specifically, content writing tends to be more long-form, incorporating other elements like SEO best practices.

Writing For Mobile is free on Amazon Prime

A good example of this job description confusion is a book I found, Writing for Mobile by Fiona Brichaut. As a mobile UX writer, the title initially threw me off. The book is strictly content writing for the smartphone. If brand building and selling interest you, this book offers guidelines for content writing.

If you’re more interested in the app experience, there may be a UXer in you after all.

Next, we’ll discuss if you have a UX skillset. Please email me at or leave a comment if you have specific UX questions you'd like me to address.

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